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ER and doctor's office visits from the flu dwindle in Chicago

  • Mayor Emanuel gets a flu shot at the Uptown Neighborhood Clinic.
Mayor Emanuel gets a flu shot at the Uptown Neighborhood Clinic. (Anthony Souffl?/ Chicago…)
February 05, 2013|By Leonor Vivanco, @lvivanco | RedEye

You had a fever. Your body ached. There's a good chance you caught the flu this winter.

The bad news is the flu bug is still alive, but the good news is there are signs that show the flu outbreak is waning in Chicago.

The city's Department of Public Health will give a flu presentation on Wednesday to the City Council's Committee on Health and Environmental Protection.

According to the city's flu update released last Friday, there were seven cases of reported flu-associated intensive care unit hospitalizations the week ending Jan. 26 compared to the spike of 33 cases for the week ending Dec. 29.

"This is the lowest number of cases reported in a week since mid-December," the update said.

In total, 159 flu-associated ICU hospitalizations were reported since Sept. 30, according to the update.

The number of emergency room and doctor's office visits from the flu have recently dwindled as well.

The update said 4.7 percent of emergency department visits as reported by 15 hospitals were attributed to flu-like illness for the week of Jan. 20-26.

"That is nearly three percentage points lower than the highest level reported so far this season, however levels remain nearly twice where they were during the same week last season," the update said.

That same week, 3.9 percent of doctor's office visits reported by 34 outpatient clinics were due to flu-like illness - the lowest level reported since late November yet higher compared to the same time period during the past two flu seasons, the update said.

The city still encourages Chicagoans to get a flu vaccine this season.

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